Pundit Wire
Where Political Speechwriters Comment on the News

Author Archives: Hal Gordon

Finding Churchill’s Faith

God & Churchill“King and country, in that order, that’s about the only religion Winston has.”

So wrote Lord Moran, Sir Winston Churchill’s friend and physician. Most historians would agree. After all, did not Churchill himself quip that he was “not a pillar of the church, but a flying buttress”?

Yet if Churchill had no religion beyond king and country, how do we account for the references to “God” and “Providence” that appear so prominently again and again in his speeches? Were they no more than a politician’s cynical nod to the religious sensibilities of his countrymen?

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Grace Under Pressure

gordon hal rapelIf looking up from the base of the cliff had been intimidating, looking down from the top was unsettling in the extreme. Suddenly, I was beset with misgivings. I was ready to plead chronic acrophobia and make the humiliating trek back down to the base with my tail between my legs. But I didn’t want to be a wimp. So what should I do?

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Royal Milestone

QueensOn this day, September 9, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II surpasses the 63 years and seven-month reign of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria to become the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

The event will be observed quietly; the Queen has asked that there be no fanfare. Instead, she will carry on “business as usual”, as she has for nearly 64 years.

Her Majesty decided very early on just what kind of a monarch she would be.

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Donald Trump Fires Up Evangelicals

8567813820_57dc199e5f_oWhat could Trump—a man who openly admits that he has never asked God for forgiveness—possibly say to a group of Evangelical Christians? So I put on my speechwriter’s cap, and here is my naughty speechwriter’s version of what a Donald Trump speech to Evangelicals might sound like:

I’m very glad you’re here today, because it’s very important that you should understand why I, Donald Trump, should be the standard bearer for Evangelical Christians in the 2016 presidential election.

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Immigration Hysteria: From Franklin to Trump

5440002785_7b1ed0ac3e_b“Why,” fulminated Franklin, “should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of us Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or our Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.”

Does that sound familiar? Wait, there’s more.

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Is Speechwriting Spiritual Death?

Bette_Davis_-_portraitSome years ago, a speechwriter friend of mine sent me an obituary on ghostwriter Sandford Doty.

I had never heard of Doty but, as it turned out, I had heard of his work. He had ghosted the memoirs of such luminaries as Robert Merrill, Judy Garland, Bette Davis and Helen Hayes.

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Bulldoze the Lincoln Memorial?

Lincoln MemorialThe state Democratic parties of Iowa, Georgia, Connecticut and Missouri have recently voted to remove the names of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from their traditional Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners. The reason is that Jefferson and Jackson were both white males who owned slaves.

As Andy McGuire, Iowa Democratic chairwoman declared: “It is important to change the name of the dinner to align with the values of our modern-day Democratic Party: inclusiveness, diversity and equality.”
The Democratic parties of at least five other states are considering the same change.

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A Speechwriter’s Hell

2Barton Swaim’s new book, The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics, took me back to my own fumbling beginnings as a wordsmith. Flipping through the pages, I felt again what it was like to be sitting in the audience as fledgling speechwriter, listening to an important public figure deliver a speech that I had written, with “ears greedy for my own words.”

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